Why President Trump should escalate it -- and how President Reagan might have tweeted.
“Interesting to watch Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut talking about hoax Russian collusion when he was a phony Vietnam con artist!” President Trump recently tweeted. “Mr. President,” Blumenthal tweeted back, “Your bullying hasn’t worked before and it won’t work now. No one is above the law.”
The Connecticut Democrat also told reporters he was “not going to be distracted or bullied by these slurs.” In reality, the president was holding back.
“Candidate’s Words on Vietnam Service Differ from History,” ran the New York Times headline on a May 17, 2010 article by Raymond Hernandez. Blumenthal, then Connecticut Attorney General and running for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Christopher Dodd, had recently appeared at a ceremony in Norwalk honoring veterans. There he proclaimed, “We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam.”
There was one problem, Hernandez noted. The aspiring senator “never served in Vietnam.” Even so, at the ceremony he proclaimed: “When we came back, we were spat on; we couldn’t wear our uniforms.”
The old-line establishment media covered up the fakery and the Hartford Courant even described the Democrat as captain of the Harvard swim team. But as the intrepid Hernandez discovered, Blumenthal “was never on the team.” The president passed over Blumenthal’s athletic fakery but the Vietnam deception doubtless served as a revelation, even for journalists.
Donald Trump is the first president to make Twitter his megaphone and take his case directly to the people. Had president Reagan been able to tweet, he too would have found a target-rich environment, perhaps starting with Jimmy Carter, the incumbent Democrat he soundly defeated in 1980.
“Sorry you lost Jimmy,” Reagan might have tweeted. “Now go back to being a fahmuh and nuculah engineah, raise large white rabbits and watch for UFOs. Good luck with that.”
To 1980 and 1984 Communist Party USA presidential candidate, Gus Hall, Reagan might have tweeted: “Don’t be sore loser but you need to shore up support with the working class. Maybe a place for you in the Gulag. Chill!”
Or to Angela Davis, the Communist Party candidate for vice president: “Your lifelong support for all-white, all-male Stalinist dictatorships is hurting you with blacks and women. But congratulations on Lenin Peace Prize!”
Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy might have drawn something like this: “Intelligence community tells me you have been seeking help from Yuri Andropov. Sorry that didn’t work out, but you beat the rap on Chappaquiddick.”
Reagan might also have tweeted about Sen. Robert Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, in this manner: “Interesting to hear Senator Byrd talk civil rights when he was recruiter for Ku Klux Klan who said he would never fight in army with a negro by his side.”
In the establishment media, one of Reagan’s most vocal critics was UPI White House correspondent Helen Thomas, a loquacious woman with a low threshold of interruptibility. As the president or one of his aides might have tweeted: “Helen, your indignation has been duly recorded. But shut your mouth and sit down so somebody else can ask a question.”
Just so millennials and others know, in 2010 Thomas called on Jews to “get the hell out of Palestine.” According to Thomas, “they could go home,” to “Poland, Germany,” because “Why push people out of there who have lived there for centuries? See?” In case you missed it, the whole thing was captured on video.
Thomas, Byrd, Kennedy and Davis would not have exhausted the possibilities for Reagan and Trump has many prospects beyond Richard Blumenthal, who also attacked David Horowitz during the confirmation hearing for Jeff Sessions. As the multi-front attacks continue, the president might escalate his tweet offensive and select more strategic targets.
Hillary Clinton remains a prime bull’s-eye, along with the man who at the 2016 Democratic National Convention proclaimed: “there has never been anyone more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president of the United States of America.” The man who made that statement is the first ex-president to remain in Washington and act as though still in charge.
Trump might congratulate the 44th president for securing Pulitzer Prize winner David Garrow to write Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama. Garrow cites a reporter who claims David Axelrod cooked up the Obama story, which is “not entirely true.” Donald Trump, the most assailed president in history, might tweet: “Who was that reporter and what parts of your story are not true? The people want to know.”
Unlike other Republicans, President Trump knows he’s in a battle. He might take a cue from French general Ferdinand Foch, whose strategy in 1918 won the land war in Europe and forced German surrender. Said Foch: “My center is giving way, my right is in retreat, situation excellent. I attack.”